Looking north from Fire Island

Looking north from Fire Island
Continuing the cooking articles I write every summer

Monday, September 15, 2008

Gia Russa Pumpkin Gnocchi

Thanks to my friend Chef David Ledu, I tried a pound of Gia Russa whole wheat Gnocchi made with pumpkin flour. Damn, it was good.
In a wide pan 2Tb EVOO, saute around a quarter cup of shallots, a few flakes of red chili pepper, and a whisper of fresh grated nutmeg. Then add half cup of white wine, half a chicken bouillon cube, a teaspoon of chopped fresh tarragon, a glug of balsamic vinegar, a grind of black pepper, and some heavy cream. Taste all the while. You do NOT want the vinegar to dominate. It should be mild, with the pumpkin, the excellent pasta, and the cream being the taste you are more aware of. Too much vinegar and you overwhelm everything else, as I did once when I drank too much wine and got cocky.

By now you should have a pot of boiling salted water going. Add the gnocchi, stir well, and when they rise to the top and remain there for half a minute, lift them out and drop them directly onto the prepared sauce. Toss, remove from the fire, and sprinkle with grated Romano cheese. If you only have Parmesan, that's fine. A few more sprinkles of fresh tarragon please.

This is one pasta your taste buds tell you to wolf down, but you shouldn't. Force yourself to eat this slowly, allow yourself to savor the layers of flavor flowing across your palate. The pasta should be chewy, but soft as well. Great pasta has this quality. The beauty of this gnocchi is the way it satisfies, yet leaves you hungry at the same time. I'd drink a fruity red with this.

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